AAPI Employee Spotlight: Vaibhav Sharma
To celebrate Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Zynga has been spotlighting some of our incredible AAPI-identifying employees throughout May. We recognize the important influence that the AAPI community has had on the history, culture, and achievements of our organization and the world, and are honored to be sharing employees’ stories.
We are celebrating up our month of celebrations with a spotlight on Vaibhav Sharma, our Distinguished Engineer and Technical Director for Zynga Poker based in San Francisco, USA.
Tell us a little bit about your background, culture, and career.
I grew up in India in the foothills of the Himalayas, very close to nature playing Mario 🙂 Early on I realized how software engineering not only solves some of the most complex problems but also brings joy, so it was natural for me to opt for software development and computer science engineering as a career. I pride myself to be a problem solver with a positive outlook.
What is your current role and responsibilities at Zynga?
I am a Distinguished Engineer and Technical Director for Zynga Poker, responsible for all technology, architecture and design decisions for the game.
Tell us about joining ZAPI (Zynga Asians & Pacific Islanders) and what the employee resource group means to you?
ZAPI provides a single platform to connect across all Asian cultures and get to know folks with similar ideologies. It promotes diversity & Inclusion, and encourages employees to be their authentic self and take pride in who they are. Additionally this provides a tremendous opportunity to give back to the community.
What does Asian Heritage Month mean to you?
It’s about who you are and where you have come from to get to where you are today. It’s an opportunity to come together, share our culture and history with others.
Do you have an inspirational figure in your life? Who are they and how have they helped you along on your journey?
Right now my inspiration in life is my 5 year old daughter. She has taught me patience, how one can solve a problem in many different ways and find joy in it every time. How to look at the world every morning with enthusiasm and optimism. She inspires me to be a better person, to learn more, achieve more, love more, be humble and be honest.
What was the best advice you ever received in life or career?
Work hard and stay humble, success is a beautiful thing. But you should never forget your roots, never forget how hard you worked to get where you are today, never forget to say thank you, never forget that everything comes at a price and never forget that it’s not always about you.
Looking back at previous experiences, what makes Zynga stand out the most?
Zynga is a fun place to work at where I get intellectually stimulated each day to keep me excited and motivated to keep learning. The instant gratification of observing someone enjoy what you worked on is unparalleled. Diversity and Inclusion is ingrained deeply into Zynga’s DNA. And last but not the least, I have always found optimal work-life balance here.
What’s a personal favorite of yours that you wish to share with the world? (This could be a game, book, food, quote, or more)
I enjoy reading books. I believe they have the power to change your life and give you a lift when you need it the most. It helps you understand the core meaning of belonging, empathy, humility, confidence and joy in life. One of my favorite books is Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths. The book explains application of common computer science algorithms to day to day decisions. And if you think inversely, it gives you an insight into how these algorithms came into being in the first place.
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?
Spending time with my family is what I value and adore the most.